Summer 2021 Internship

· Boston, Massachusetts
Employment Type Full-Time

This position is set as Boston because our HR software requires the choice of a city. We are seeking to fill this position in India, Kenya, Ethiopia and Colombia. Apologies for any resulting confusion.


Precision Agriculture for Development, Inc. (PAD) seeks interns for the summer of 2021 to support our rapid organizational and programmatic growth in India, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Latin America, as well as to support our New Programs team and other work of our Global team. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and CV via our website’s job portal by February 20, 2021. Submitted CVs must state clearly the applicant’s country program preferences, and the type of role the applicant is interested in (i.e. field research, data analysis, operations, etc.) 


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Successful applicants will be informed of their selection on a rolling basis with the final decisions being made by April 30, 2021.


Organization background 


Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD) is a global non-profit organization that harnesses technology, data science and behavioral economics to provide targeted information to farmers in developing countries to improve their lives. By providing actionable information to the right people, in the right way and at the right time, PAD empowers smallholder farmers to improve their productivity, increase their profitability, and advance environmental sustainability. PAD is pioneering a new model for agricultural extension: delivering to farmers personalized agricultural advice through their mobile phones. PAD implements this model in collaboration with partner organizations to maximize scale, and continuously experiments, iterates, and gathers evidence on impact to improve services and demonstrate value. As of the end of the third quarter of 2020, PAD had reached 3.6 million farmers through a range of services providing tailored information on crop optimization, pest management, input utilization and environmental stewardship. PAD currently works in nine countries in Africa and Asia and is rapidly expanding as more governments and organizations look for innovative ways to utilize new  technologies to deliver actionable information to people who need it. 


Summer projects 


PAD seeks summer interns to provide support to our country-based teams in India, Kenya and East Africa, Ethiopia, Latin America, as well as our New Programs team and Global team.  The specific scope of each intern’s work is subject to change and will be determined based on a candidate’s  experience and interests, but will include some subset of the activities listed below. 


India:


In Odisha, India, PAD is operating the mobile phone-based Ama Krushi agricultural advisory service for the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment (DAFE), State Government of Odisha, to provide information to farmers, extension workers and other groups with the goal of strengthening the existing extension machinery while also improving farmer livelihoods. In 2020, PAD reached its 1 millionth farmer in Odisha, and started planning for the project’s transition to the government in 2021. Additionally, PAD will roll out a large-scale impact evaluation to measure the impact of this program in the coming year. 


PAD provides digital agricultural extension services to tens of thousands of farmers in Gujarat and in Karnataka, where PAD is working with the Coffee Board of India, a central government body responsible for protecting and promoting the coffee industry across the country. In West Bengal, PAD works with the state government, on a World Bank facilitated project, to offer ad and government extension workers to offer advisory on rice, fisheries and vegetables. PAD India is also working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) in a program to reduce crop residue burning in the two North Indian states of Punjab and Haryana to shift farmer behaviour from crop residue burning toward the adoption of new conservation agricultural technologies.


India team interns will support the team through a period of rapid expansion through one or more of the following activities: 


  • Partnership development: Support the scoping of new partnerships and the early stages of projects, with both public and private partners
  • Product improvement: supporting the research and implementation of activities to improve the impact of PAD’s services across India offices.
  • Data visualization: Supporting project teams in developing visual tools to enable partners to make data-driven decisions in response to findings from PAD’s services
  • Training & capacity building: Working with the project team on systems and protocols to execute successful build-operate-transfer models within PAD, in Odisha
  • Research and operations: Support the implementation of the projects and the research activities in West Bengal, Haryana/Punjab, Gujarat, Karnataka and Odisha. 
  • Impact evaluation: Support the implementation of the impact evaluation in Odisha.


Kenya & East Africa:


In Kenya, PAD operates a large two-way SMS platform (“MoA-INFO”) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, KALRO, the County Governments, CABI, and Safaricom. Millions of Safaricom (largest telecommunication company in Kenya) customers have been invited to join the platform through multiple SMS campaigns from 2018 to date. The platform currently has more than 460,000 users. Initially, the platform focused on dispensing advice focused on combating an invasive pest, Fall Armyworm (FAW). MoA-INFO now provides advice on ten crops: maize, beans, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, pigeon pea, bananas, tomatoes, sorghum, onion, and green gram (mung bean). The platform also enables farmers to access information about maize farming practices and to customize the timing of the content they receive. PAD is conducting multiple experiments and A/B tests to continuously improve the platform and measure various outcomes.

In Uganda, PAD works with the Uganda Coffee Agronomy Training Program (UCAT) PAD to build a coffee Good Agronomic Practices (GAPs) advisory service and automated call center for a sub-sample of farmers in Western Uganda. PAD works with Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) and TechnoServe who implement field based, practical and participatory agronomic training to smallholder coffee farmers through Farmer Field Schools (FFS). To a section of farmers who attend FFS, PAD reinforces their in-person training with digital training via IVR. Farmers who do not attend FFS receive weekly digital advisory training on GAPs, and also have access to an automated question & answer platform. Through this platform, farmers are able to (1) listen to the week’s advisory messages again, (2) record a question for a local agronomist, (3) listen to their previous questions and answers, and (4) listen to the previous week’s coffee advisory message.

In 2020, PAD introduced two new initiatives in East Africa. Firstly, PAD Kenya signed MoUs with two dairy cooperatives to offer digital advisory services to their customers. PAD will deploy services with these two dairy cooperatives in a series of four pilots: i) push messages about nutrition, breeding, and hygiene; ii) a menu with information about major diseases; iii) a feed and fodder decision support tool; and iv) breed decision support tool. Secondly, PAD’s newly established “parent” entity, PAD has also launched its  first initiative outside of the agriculture sector. In partnership with Young 1ove, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), and the Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development (KICD), PAD is implementing a new two-way SMS education service in Kenya. The pilot for the program focused on supporting math skills for primary school-aged children affected by Kenya’s school closures. The new service, called ElimuLeo, aims to expand this service to reach 20,000 users by the end of January 2021.


In Kenya and East Africa, interns will support the design, implementation, and data analysis of:


  • The MoA-INFO SMS platform;
  • The Uganda UCAT program;
  • Dairy digital advisory services;
  • ElimuLeo service.


Ethiopia:

PAD Ethiopia supports government organizations that provide digital advisory services to assess, improve, and expand their services. This service allows farmers anywhere in the country to dial in and listen to pre-recorded agricultural advice on optimal farming practices. Since 2017, PAD has implemented several improvements to the farmers’ hotline to improve ease of use, farmer access and comprehension of agricultural content, and user retention. The changes include tweaks in the registration process, menu replays when no menu is pressed to give a second thought, menu rotation based on the seasonal calendar and many more. Beginning in October 2019, PAD is working on a five-year initiative funded by BMGF and DFID to coordinate digital agricultural advisory services throughout the entire country across several digital channels, including voice, SMS, IVR, video, and others, with an initial focus on dairy farmers. Together with other government and non-government partners, PAD is working on strengthening existing digital agricultural advisory services and developing a data integration platform. The data integration platform (called FarmStack) aims to provide a digital marketplace for data and content sharing in the agriculture ecosystem.


PAD Ethiopia interns will support the implementation of a wide range of the projects and research activities described above.


Latin America:


In December, PAD together with the organizations Rare and TNC were awarded a UK PACT grant to launch a digital agricultural advisory service in Colombia in 2021 focused on helping farmers achieve sustainable climate-smart, productivity-enhancing agricultural practices. This project will start in February 2021 and will be our first on-the-ground program in Latin America.


Moreover, in June, PAD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to expand the use of digital agricultural advisory services in Latin America and the Caribbean, and to integrate these services into existing public extension systems in the region. In partnership with IICA, PAD is pursuing multiple new opportunities in the region, including discussions with (i) the Government of Colombia and The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to provide mobile phone based advisory services to 250,000 farmers, (ii) the Government of Brazil to reach 100,000 farmers in the Northeast region of Brazil, and (iii) exploring partnerships with organizations in Mexico and Honduras. 

PAD interns in Latin America will support partnership development and the implementation of new programs (Spanish and/or Portuguese language skills required). 


New Programs:


PAD’s Global New Programs Team supports program development and implementation in new geographies. The team is recruiting interns to support partnership development, initial research and scoping, program design, and fundraising efforts to implement operations in potential new geographies. The team’s current priorities are focused on expansion in West Africa (DRC), Latin America, and South Asia (Bangladesh, additional states in India, additional provinces in Pakistan) - other geographies TBD.


New Programs Team interns will support the development of new programs described above, including one or more of the following activities:


  • Meeting with and developing PAD relationships with potential partners 
  • Desk research on agriculture sector in new geographies, target user populations, and potential research topics for new programs
  • Program design and workplan and budget creation for new programs
  • Crafting project concept notes and proposals for potential funders


Language skills in Spanish, Portuguese, and/or French are desired.


Communications:


Our Global team is recruiting a public policy, journalism, web design or data visualization wizard to assist with iterating the communications function of a rapidly growing start up. 

Candidates should have the skills to strategize and implement communications assets to reach academic, development and non-expert audiences - primarily via web-related media. Entrepreneurial applicants, with demonstrated interest in international development or economics,  econometric knowledge (for this position a candidate should be able to understand a regression table and communicate findings; it is not necessary that you need to be able to conduct regression analysis) and with strong writing and sub-editing skills are strongly encouraged to apply. Data visualization skills (Datawrapper; D3; Plotly etc.) preferred.


Qualifications 


Interested candidates will be vetted against the skill set required to perform the role they seek to fill. An example of preferred qualifications include: 

  • At least two years of field research or project management experience; 
  • Experience with/strong interest in sustainable agriculture and working with small and medium sized farmers in developing countries; 
  • Experience with consumer-facing technology platforms; 
  • Strong written and oral communication skills; 
  • Experience supervising data collection, teams of field workers, survey design and implementation, and data management; 
  • Proficiency in Stata; 
  • Experience with RCTs and/or applied statistics; 
  • Experience working in a developing country and as part of a multicultural team; 
  • Local language skills or working experience in India, Kenya, Ethiopia or Colombia; and
  • Ability to work with little supervision and in a flexible manner 


Logistics 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, PAD operations have been entirely remote since March 2020. Pending internal evaluation of the safety of travel prior to the start of the internship program, PAD interns will either work remotely or out of one of our country offices in India, Kenya, or Ethiopia. Country nationals with work authorization in the respective program country (India, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Colombia or Brazil) are strongly encouraged to apply. 


PAD is flexible on start and end dates, but expects a minimum three-month full-time commitment. For students entering their second year of graduate school in the Fall of 2021, there may be a possibility to continue working with PAD as the client for a master’s capstone project or thesis. 


Compensation 

The successful candidates will be provided with a stipend, as well as reimbursement for work-related travel during the internship.

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  • Location
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Employment Type
    Full-Time